Visualizing the Cosmos: A Flight Through the Universe by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

In a rather stunning effort, Miguel Aragon of Johns Hopkins University (with Mark Subbarao of the Adler Planetarium and Alex Szalay of Johns Hopkins) has created an animated “flight through the universe” using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7. In full-screen, the scale and scope of the video is absolutely fascinating.

And that’s not all. As the notes on the video say:

Vast as this slice of the universe seems, its most distant reach is to redshift 0.1, corresponding to roughly 1.3 billion light years from Earth. SDSS Data Release 9 from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), led by Berkeley Lab scientists, includes spectroscopic data for well over half a million galaxies at redshifts up to 0.8 — roughly 7 billion light years distant — and over a hundred thousand quasars to redshift 3.0 and beyond.

This is a small, small section of a big, big universe. But it’s still the coolest thing I’ve seen today. For more information about BOSS and the latest data release, follow this link.


Brit Mandelo is a writer, critic, and editor whose primary fields of interest are speculative fiction and queer literature, especially when the two coincide. Also, comics. She can be found on Twitter or her website.

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